The No. 11 Café was a community food initiative, launched at 11 Gordon Street in Huntly. Started in 2017 by anthropologist Marc Higgin and Lebanese-British artist Aya Haidar, the place was run in collaboration with Hayat Shahoud and Abeer Alhalabe, two women who are part of the Syrian new Scots community. The café was open on Wednesdays and Fridays from Novembre 2017 to March 2018.
Many voices, reports and policies have pointed to a perceived lack of food culture in our town. Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire Council has, in the last two years, resettled over one hundred people from Syrian communities constrained to leave the Middle East due to political uncertainty. No.11 was a proposition to answer issues of integration and understanding by combining our cultures and sharing our skills and experiences.
The No.11 project means to explore ways of influencing and diversifying the local diet and food choices in Huntly, and provides place and opportunities to facilitate individual empowerment through workshops, classes, lectures and cultural gatherings. This is rooted in a belief that all aspects of food – from growing and exchange, to cooking and eating together – have a major role in cultural exchange and community building.